By Ebireri Henry Ovie
Prominent politicians in the South-South geo-political zone on Monday came out condemning the suspended deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Timi Frank.
They also referred to Frank as evil and mischievous.
At a meeting in Yenegoa, the leaders scolded Frank for cutting a very bad image for the zone.
They called the reckless talk, unwarranted demands and disgraceful behavior of the suspended deputy national publicity secretary of the party nauseating.
The leaders, who reacted to Timi Frank’s frequent rants against Oyegun, described the recent interview of the suspended deputy national publicity secretary as shocking and repulsive.
“We feel very sorry for the people who listen to the sermons of Timi Frank”
The leaders accused Timi Frank of creating confusion, saying President Muhammadu Buhari put in his letter of resignation, mentioning ‘irreconcilable differences with the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) as his reasons for quitting.
They also listed the pulling out of the Ume-Ezeoke-led ANPP from the case instituted at the presidential election tribunal challenging the declaration of President Umaru Yar’Adua by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the 2007 presidential election and the involvement of the party in the controversial Government of National Unity (GNU) mounted by President Umaru Yar’adua.
“John Odigie-Oyegun did not kill ANPP. He did not drive Buhari from the party. APC is not dying. It is doing well under Odigie-Oyegun”
They commended the national chairman of the country’s leading party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun for his commitment to democracy, social justice and pluralism.
“Chief John Odigie-Oyegun is doing his job well. The national chairman of the ruling party is making the party more inclusive. He is committed to exploring all avenues to ensure lasting peace in Kogi, Kaduna and others” the leaders said.
In a statement, the leaders praised Oyegun for maintaining internal cohesion in Nigeria’s most successful political party, saying the chairman of the ruling party had been the victim of a “vicious smear campaign” from those pursuing selfish agenda.
“Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has a track record of success” the leaders said.
Signed by the Chairman of South-South Front, Chief John Harry, the leaders described Oyegun’s leadership style as “exceptional”.
They also commended the government for improving the nation’s economy, fighting corruption effectively and taking Nigeria to ‘next level’
“APC has managed the Nigerian economy very well and made it better than it was 27months ago”
“The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) fused into one, adopted one symbol, accepted one slogan, a common manifesto and a single constitution. APC controls the majority of the voters in the country and has government machinery at its disposal. It is projected to maintain its position as the biggest party in 2019” the leaders added.
__________________________________________The Timi Frank Interview.
THE Kaduna governor, Nasir El-Rufai recently talked about a new movement within the APC, the Buharists, whose mission is to encourage President Muhammadu Buhari seek a fresh mandate in 2019. Does such a movement really exist within your party?
I don’t know about them and that was the first time I heard of it and after that his statement that he mentioned Buharists, I immediately responded and I made it very clear by warning President Muhammadu Buhari that he should be very careful of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.
I have to warn them, because today they might think el-Rufai is campaigning for the president, but I can tell you he is just a mere total sycophant. He is not with the president. He is just pushing for his own agenda so that he can be the ultimate beneficiary. In case the man doesn’t want to run, he can say ok he has been the one campaigning for me. el-Rufai has no loyalty to anybody, but himself . It is very clear from his antecedent. If he can fight all those that made him in life, starting from the former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar who brought him from nowhere. Is it former president, Olusegun Obasanjo who also made him minister, even his best friend, Nuhu Ribadu. So, he is somebody who isn’t used to loyalty and again this is the same man who has criticised Buhari in the past but today, suddenly he sees himself as a Buharist. So, what has changed from when el-Rufai made the comment that Buhari can never be president of Nigeria, what has changed between then and now?
So, the president should be very careful. It is very clear to me that el-Rufai and the Buharists aren’t the ones to force the president to run. He was saying they would force him to run. That’s very childish
and insulting to the personality of the president. You can see the president is a father. He is a General in this country and you know that a General isn’t somebody you push the way you want but El-Rufai has made it to look as if there are people who can push the president as long as they are around him. If the president wants to run, to declare, he can do that on his own without anybody talking to him.
Does Atiku stand any chance of picking the APC presidential ticket?
I cannot tell you now. He hasn’t declared his presidential ambition, whether he is going to run or not. But I believe let us wait for the date he is going to declare and tell the whole world that he is going to run. The day he does that, then we can start deliberating whether he is going to get the ticket or not. But as I said, I believe we must, as a party, do what is right. There must be a level playing field. There must be open platform for everybody that has ambition to run. So, I believe we will do everything. Some of us have been very outspoken within the party and fight the injustice within the party and I shall continue to insist that things be done properly. I have always opposed the national chairman of my party because we have never followed the guidelines and constitution of the party since its existence. These are some of the things I have been fighting in the past. I hate being oppressed. I hate people being oppressed and I will continue to stand with Nigerians. By the grace of God, we will do everything within our reach to make sure we salvage this party.
The party is also divided over when and how to go about its convention: whether it should be elective or non-elective. The likes of Oyegun have said no convention will be conducted in the absence of President Buhari. The president was around for weeks before he travelled again. But while he was around, no one talked about the convention again. What’s the way forward?
Forget about Oyegun. I can tell you clearly that Oyegun has destroyed this party. He lacks the capacity to run this party. You can understand that every party Oyegun has administered has always failed.
His style of managing party is terrible. We remember his days in the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), how he killed the party and if we continue to keep him as national chairman the APC, it is going to die under him. He killed ANPP when he was chairman; the same Oyegun was one of the persons who drove Buhari away from ANPP because of his conduct as chairman. So we know his antecedent.
That’s why some of us have been saying we need a chairman that can unify this party. This is a party that for over two years we only had two meetings. For a serious party that wants to take Nigeria to the next step, even when there are critical issues to deliberate in the country. Ask Oyegun to tell you the last time APC had its National Executive Committee, (NEC) meeting. Tell me why up till today, a party that is serious has no Board of Trustees (BoT) in place. So, the issue of Oyegun is a forgotten issue. It doesn’t matter to him, whether the party succeeds or fails. APC under Oyegun, I can tell you, is a disgrace until we change the leadership. Tell me one crisis he has managed to resolve. None. We have crises in practically all the states but he hasn’t managed to reconcile one person. We need to restructure APC. It needs total rebranding and I am not the first person to talk about it. Senator Bola Tinubu has criticised the leadership of this party; the same thing Atiku Abubakar has done, the same thing the Senate President, Bukola Saraki has done, the same thing most leaders have been doing but for some certain reasons, Oyegun is scared and he isn’t calling for any leadership meeting, because he knows the day he does that they will ask him to go.